Translation converts written text into another language and localization brings those conversions into the wonderful worlds of technology and computers.
Translation involves the conversion of written text or spoken words into another language. It is essential that a full understanding of the source material be flawlessly rendered into the target language, concentrating on all possible cultural nuances and style.
“Translation is only one of the activities in localization; in addition to translation, a localization project includes many other tasks such as project management, software engineering, testing and desktop publishing.”1
Localization is typically used by software and web page development industries for translating their software or web sites into different languages and designing them with a specific country or region in mind. Localization implies that the culture and mannerisms of the specific location for which the localized product is intended will be assimilated into the translation of that product. Products and environments are geared to work naturally with the target language and individual locale by adding region-specific programs and translating text.
Does this clear up the distinction between Translation and Localization for you? As the translation industry continues to expand in the every growing global marketplace, all of these new terms can be a bit overwhelming. If you have any further insights to add to these definitions, please do so!
1A Practical Guide to Localization, by Bert Esselink